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Pediatr Emerg Care. 2009 Feb;25(2):88-92. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e318196ea81.

Bioterrorism: Evaluating the preparedness of pediatricians in Michigan.

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Division of Emergency Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Michigan, Detroit, MI 48201, USA.



There is a paucity of literature in the United States regarding preparedness for a bioterrorist attack on children. The main objective of this study was to assess the self-reported level of bioterrorism preparedness of pediatricians practicing in Michigan.


We conducted a survey that was mailed to 1000 pediatricians practicing in Michigan from July through December 2006. Survey questions were designed to evaluate the overall level of preparedness, as defined by the American Academy of Pediatrics, in dealing with a possible biological event and to describe key demographic variables.


Of the 590 pediatricians who responded (59%), a majority (80%) were general pediatricians, whereas 20% were pediatric subspecialists. Sixty percent of responders believe terrorism is a threat, with biological agents (52%; 95% confidence interval (CI), 48.00-56.12) as the most likely cause of an event. Half of the pediatricians who responded had a workplace disaster plan, but only 12% feel their preparedness for a biological attack/event was good. Sixty-six percent (392/590) were not currently Pediatric Advanced Life Support certified, 38% (95% CI,34.63-42.51) have never attended a lecture based on bioterrorism, 85% (95% CI, 82.00-87.78) have never participated in a bioterrorism training exercise, and 89% (95% CI, 87.00-91.95) do not provide disaster-oriented anticipatory guidance to their patients. Seventy-six percent (95% CI, 73.10-79.98) of all responders indicated their desire for more bioterrorism training, with 42% preferring diagnostic algorithms and 37% (95% CI, 32.79-40.59) preferring a prepared lecture on video format.


Surveyed pediatricians in Michigan consider bioterrorism a significant threat but are overwhelmingly underprepared to deal with an event. There is a perceived need for a coordinated educational program to improve level of preparedness.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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